Bloomfield Hills, Michigan – GM’s Saturn will be discontinued, following an announcement by the Penske Automotive Group that it will not buy the brand from General Motors. Penske cited concerns over the future supply of vehicles beyond the period it had negotiated with the automaker.
The two companies entered negotiations in June 2009, following General Motors’ announcement that Saturn would not be one of the four “core brands” retained after the automaker’s emergence from bankruptcy protection.
In a statement, Penske said that it had negotiated a definitive agreement with GM to source Saturn vehicles on a contract-manufactured basis for a period of time. After this period, Penske would have been required to source vehicles from another third party under a similar contract-manufacturing agreement. The company negotiated the terms and conditions of an agreement with another unnamed manufacturer, but the agreement was rejected by that manufacturer’s board of directors. Without the agreement, Penske has determined that the risks and uncertainties related to the availability of future products prohibits it from moving forward with the transaction.
“This is very disappointing news and comes after months of hard work by hundreds of dedicated employees and Saturn retailers who tried to make the new Saturn a reality,” said Fritz Henderson, president and CEO of General Motors. “As a result of (Penske’s) decision, we will be winding down the Saturn brand and dealership network, in accordance with the wind-down agreements that Saturn dealers recently signed with GM. Pursuant to the terms of those agreements, the wind-down process will be determined and communicated shortly.”
Henderson said that Saturn customers will continue to be able to purchase and have their vehicles serviced at Saturn retailers during the process. Once the wind-down is complete, Saturn owners will be able to have their vehicles serviced at other GM dealerships. “We will be communicating with our customers very soon to explain the next steps in this process,” Henderson said.